Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Orwellian outcomes: universal healthcare

Tony Blankley peers into a possible future:

After first squeezing the private insurance policies by undercutting their offerings with a subsidized federal government health insurance, the government then could undercut the private insurance further by denying the insurers tax deductibility unless they complied with federal health service regulations. As only the wealthiest could afford to buy private health insurance if the cost were not deductible, private health insurance companies would be compelled to follow federal benefits and cost regulations.

At that point, almost all Americans would get their health care pursuant to federally regulated systems. Then the president would be able to begin to deliver on his twin pledges to reduce the cost of entitlements and make health care overall contribute to lower deficits.

The federal regulators could do merely what the British regulators do currently:

--Constantly reduce the compensation of doctors and all other skilled health care providers. (As domestically trained American doctors became scarcer, more not-as-well-trained foreign doctors would be needed.)

--Limit the availability of medical technology. (In Canada, patients have to wait for months for MRIs, so those who can come to America for immediate diagnostic services.)

--Ration available treatment to fit the federal budget requirements. The universal digitalized health data could be used to justify non-treatment on a cost-benefit basis. For example, hip replacement for older people may be denied because they are not likely to live long enough to justify the expense.

At that point, Americans would (too late) understand more fully what happens when health care is a right rather than a service purchased by a sturdy, free people in an unfettered free market.

BCWUW4: be careful what you wish for.

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